Anonymous Coffee Co.

The "Adventure" espresso at Anonymous Coffee Co. seen from above, with notes about the coffee from the roaster, Wood St Coffee.Anonymous Coffee Co., which is located inside the Tasting House on Chain Street, in the heart of Reading, is the latest venture of old friend of the Coffee Spot, Phil Carter. Technically, Anonymous extends no further than the neat wooden counter just inside the door, but in reality you’re free to roam anywhere over the Tasting House’s two floors, including the large upstairs seating area. The Tasting House, by the way, is a wine merchant/wine bar with a range of wines on (self-service) tap, so you can try multiple wines in one sitting if you want.

Returning to Anonymous, there are two options on espresso (“comfort” and “adventure”) with two more on pour-over through the V60. One espresso and one filter come from Union Hand-roasted, with the others coming from a regularly-changing guest roaster (during my visit, it was Walthamstow’s finest, Wood St Coffee). If you’re hungry, there’s a small range of cakes available from Anonymous, or you can have something from the Tasting House kitchen, which offers toasties, charcuterie, crostini and various bar snacks.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Going north along Chain Street, heading towards Broad Street... What's that on the right?
  • Why, it's the Tasting House...
  • ... which extends to a second floor...
  • ... although this is a more accurate view from the street!
  • However, this is what I've actually come for: Anonymous Coffee Co.!
  • It's visible through the windows on the left-hand side. Let's go in.
  • And there, just inside the door, is the counter, which we'll come back to.
  • Instead, let's check out the seating. There's a cocktail table to the right of the door...
  • ... followed by a pair of round, two-person tables, separated by pop-up dividers.
  • This is a better view of them.
  • Beyond that, you're into the Tasting House proper.
  • The left-hand wall is the domain of the wine, with the self-serve taps to the right...
  • ... and this keg to the left, along with a handy explanation of the system.
  • There's more seating to the right in the shape of this six-person table...
  • ... which has been converted into two tables by this pop-up barrier.
  • Finally, at the back on the right is the open kitchen, menu on the wall behind.
  • However, that's not all. Right at the back, a flight of stairs starts on the left...
  • ... heads up the back wall...
  • ... and then doubles back on itself.
  • A view of the staircase from the top.
  • It has a couple of neat features, including this tasting evenings wall of honour...
  • ... and a rather lovely light fitting which hangs above it.
  • Even better, in a little alcove off to one side at the top of the stairs is this stained glass.
  • There's plenty of additional seating up here in a large, open space.
  • It starts with two more of the six-person communal tables...
  • ... with their pop-up dividers, located to your right as you look from the top of the stairs.
  • Then, at the far end (the front of the Tasting House), it opens out to the left in an L-shape.
  • This pair of two-person tables sit in the windows at the front...
  • ... while tucked away around the corner is a third six-person table.
  • Time to go back downstairs, where there's one more two-person table against the wall.
  • Let's go back to the counter, where you order when you enter. The counter is...
  • ... a lovely, compact affair, with the espresso machine and grinders at the front.
  • Details of the espresso options, 'comfort' and 'adventure', are displayed on the grinders.
  • The concise menu is on the wall behind the counter...
  • ... while, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's card payment only...
  • ... using this card reader, accessible through an opening in the Perspex.
  • The cakes are just to the left...
  • ... while if you want something more substantial, this is the Tasting House food menu.
  • However, I'd come for the coffee, starting with the 'adventure' espresso...
  • ... served with a glass of water and some notes from the roasters, Wood St Coffee.
  • I followed that up with another from Wood St Coffee, this time as a pour-over...
  •  ... a lovely, well-rounded, naturally-process El Salvadorian.
  • Finally, I'll leave you with my cruffin, which Phil gave me, and which I enjoyed at home.
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Chain Street is a narrow, pedestrianised thoroughfare connecting Reading Minster and the Oracle shopping centre in the south with Broad Street to the north. You’ll find the Tasting House on the eastern side, with Anonymous Coffee Co. tucked just inside the door on the left, clearly visible through the window. The narrow, all-glass façade has the door inset on the right, which brings you in right next to Anonymous’ neat, wooden counter, covered, for the moment, with the usual Perspex screens.

The espresso machine sits in the window, the cakes to its left, placing them right in front of you as you stand at the till, the simple menu on the wall behind the counter. Unusually, there’s a second till at the end of the counter, which is used by the Tasting House, so make sure you get the right one. Once you’ve ordered and made your choice of beans, take a seat and your coffee will be brought to you.

There’s a limited amount of seating downstairs, starting with a tall, round, cocktail table with a pair of stools in the window. This is followed by two small, round, two-person tables opposite the counter, all separated by tall, pop-up plastic screens. A long bar runs down the right-hand wall, but its currently not in use due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beyond this, you’re into the Tasting House proper, with the left-hand wall given over to shelves of wine, followed by the self-service taps. Opposite this is a large, six-person communal table, which has been split into two with the addition of another of the pop-up plastic screens. At the back, in the right-hand corner, is an open kitchen, while on the left, stairs lead to the large first-floor seating area.

Upstairs is L-shaped, the bottom of the L running along the front, which, like downstairs, is wall-to-wall windows. Looking from the top of the stairs, which is at the top of the L, there are two more of the six-person communal tables on the right, with a solitary two-person table on the left. Two more two-person tables occupy the windows at the front, while around the corner on the left is a third six-person communal table (all of which have table-top pop-up dividers).

Any chance I had of sneaking into Anonymous vanished as I stepped inside, Phil recognising me instantly, despite my Cherie Did This rainbow mask. We chatted over a couple of coffees, one espresso and one pour-over. For my espresso, I had the “adventure”, the La Piramide, a well-rounded washed Colombian from Wood St Coffee, which had a touch of acidity at the end. My pour-over was also from Wood St, a well-rounded, naturally-process El Salvadorian. Phil promised me fruity notes which came through as it cooled, and it was just as good cold. And with that, sadly, I had to be off.

As a postscript, Phil gave me a cruffin (a cross between a croissant and a muffin) to take home with me, which was absolutely delicious, one of the best I’ve ever had.

December 2020: Anonymous Coffee Co. was a runner-up for the 2020 Most Passionate About Coffee Award.

30A CHAIN STREET • READING • RG1 2HX +44 (0) 7825 838380
Monday CLOSED Roaster Union + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 10:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables
Wednesday 10:00 – 16:00 Food Cakes, Toasties, Charcuterie, Bar Snacks
Thursday 10:00 – 16:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 16:00 Payment Cards Only
Saturday 10:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 11:00 – 16:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 9th October 2020

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4 thoughts on “Anonymous Coffee Co.

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